Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Whether the cause is rooted in war, cyber-crimes, natural disasters, or a decrease in production, there is a possibility that a gas shortage may affect our lives in the near future.
Along with this potential problem, the high price at the pump is on everyone’s minds these days. So, what can we do to ease this burden and prepare for a shortage?
Here are 11 steps you can take to reduce your consumption of gasoline and prepare for a time when filling up your tank may be difficult.
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1. Use Alternative Means of Transportation
This step may require some lifestyle changes, but those changes may include a healthier you and a fatter wallet. Here are ways to use your car less:
- Use public transportation
- Walk more
- Ride a bicycle
- Downsize your vehicle to a more fuel-efficient car, such as a hybrid or electric vehicle, a motorcycle, scooter, or an electric bike
2. Carpool to Work, Planned Events, and Activities
It will take some planning, but arranging to ride with friends and family members will reduce your fuel costs. You’ll also save on wear and tear on your vehicle and parking expenses.
3. Coordinate Errands in Advance
Plan out your driving route so that your group errands together rather than making separate trips to the bank, gym, grocery store, or dry cleaners.
4. Limit Unnecessary Trips
Do you really have to make that run to the store now, or can it wait until tomorrow after work when you’ll be in that area of town anyway? Think about how much gas you will save if you wait.
5. Avoid Rush Hour-Type Traffic Whenever Possible
You waste precious gasoline when your car is idling in traffic. Also, you’ll save fuel and reduce emissions by turning off your engine if you know you will be stopped for more than 10 seconds, according to research by Argonne National Laboratory.
6. Remove Unnecessary Weight
It takes more fuel for a heavy vehicle to accelerate. That’s why smaller cars are more energy-efficient. You can reduce the weight of your vehicle by getting rid of any unnecessary cargo. For example, you could take off that empty roof rack when you’re not traveling.
7. Turn Off The Air Conditioner When You Can
Running your AC impacts your fuel economy. Using it only when necessary will save gas. If your car has automatic climate control, setting the interior temperature will keep the system from activating as frequently.
8. Try Gas With No Ethanol
Although it costs a bit more, gas without ethanol burns less quickly than gas with ethanol. You may end up increasing your miles per gallon as a result. You also might want to experiment with different gasoline brands and various octane levels to see what types of gas your car better gas mileage.
9. Keep Your Gas Tank At Least Half Full
Experts say you can extend the life of your vehicle by keeping your tank at least a quarter full. The fuel acts as a coolant to help prevent your engine from overheating. Low fuel can also create condensation inside your gas tank’s walls, possibly diluting the gasoline and causing rust.
Keeping your gas tank at least half full also helps you be ready when you need to hit the road due to an emergency.
10. Use Cruise Control
Taking it easy on the accelerator and limiting your top speed can help save gas on the highway. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), fuel economy can drop off significantly at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. Using cruise control on the highway can help keep your speed more consistent.
11. Keep An Emergency Supply Of Gas On Hand
In addition to your vehicles, you probably use gasoline to power other machines on your property.
The key when it comes to storing gasoline is paying attention to safety measures. Here are some tips:
- Only use containers designed to hold gasoline. These containers will have a seal or stamp of approval from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Gasoline can melt some plastics, and unapproved materials can leak or leave residue in the gas that can harm your vehicle’s engine or fuel system. Containers that do not have the proper structure or cap can cause dangerous fumes and vapor leaks.
- Fill gasoline cans only 95 percent full. Gasoline expands in the heat. Leaving a gap of air at the top of the container will reduce the chance of leaking or spillage.
- Use the first-in, first-out method for storing gas. Gasoline has a shelf life of six to 12 months. After that time, it starts to degrade, becoming less combustible. Also, the fuel’s components can separate, reducing its octane value (or power). With the addition of a fuel stabilizer, you can extend your storage time up to two years. You can purchase stabilizers (like this one) at automotive stores or automotive sections of big box stores.
- Fill the gas container on the ground. Take the container out of your vehicle or truck bed before filling it. This critical step prevents spilling inside your car and lowers the chance of a static discharge causing a spark or a fire.
- Secure the gas containers in your vehicle for the ride home from the pump. Even if you live minutes away from the gas station, keeping the can in a place where it cannot tip or slide around in your vehicle is essential. If you need to drive a long distance with the container, you will need a robust container, such as a jerry can.
- Store gas away from your house. Gasoline is flammable and can emit toxic fumes. As a result, you should store your gas containers in an outdoor structure such as a detached garage, shed, or storage barn. Be sure to keep the container away from any heat sources, including direct sunlight, heaters, or hot water heaters.
- Consider a gas tank for your property. If you have multiple vehicles and the space to store more than a few gallons, you might want to consider installing an above-ground or underground gas storage tank. However, keep in mind that each state has its own fire codes and regulations regarding gasoline home storage.
Typically, state regulations restrict the amount of gasoline a homeowner can store to 25 gallons or less. Gasoline must be stored in an approved tank or container.
We’re all experiencing a bit of a shock every time we purchase gas these days. Here’s a final tip. You can use the AAA app or apps like Gas Buddy to find the best prices at the pumps in your area. And if you want to keep up-to-date with gas prices as your travel around the U.S., you can visit this EPA site.
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